It should come as no surprise that property owners in Southern California frequently modify their outdoor spaces by adding fire pits. This is because the act of sitting around a fire has a somewhat timeless, primitive appeal.

People have historically been drawn to fire because of its warmth—and the opportunity to share stories and create lasting memories before darkness falls. With innovative designs and construction materials, there are nearly endless possibilities when it comes to creating a social space in your backyard patio with a fire feature.

If you are looking to increase the ambiance of your outdoor living by building fire pits, below are a few laws and regulations you should take into consideration before setting up one in Orange County, California.

Is It Legal to Have Fire Pits Based on Southern California’s Laws?

Given the government’s worries about the quality of the air and the fact that some places have sporadic burn bans, some locals ask if building fire pits are legally permitted in Southern California.

In a nutshell, yes! Most cities permit the use of fire pits. However, the laws for constructing them vary from city to city in Southern California, so it’s a good idea to check them out before you start.

As a side note, while wood-burning fire pits offer a pleasant aroma and an ambiance that make them excellent options for outdoor entertainment, propane, and natural gas fire pits are better choices and are worth considering as well.

As a matter of fact, pits that use natural gas or propane are better for the environment than those that burn wood. They burn more efficiently and are consequently impervious to the burn prohibitions that occasionally take effect in Southern California.

Fire Pit Laws in Orange County

There are different regulations regarding the placement of outdoor fireplaces in different Orange County cities. Below are some of the rules that you need to keep in mind to ensure that you are in accordance with Orange County’s fire pit laws before you build one.

  • An owner or occupant of the premises must remove weeds, grass, vines, or any other growth that can catch fire and endanger the property.
  • Whenever sustained winds exceed 20 mph or when a fire official deems such fires to pose a hazard, outdoor fires using any fuel type are prohibited.
  • A fireplace, fire pit, or similar device fueled by natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas is permitted only if it is approved by the Building Department and burns only gas, not wood or other solid fuels.
  • Within 25 feet of combustible structures, burning wood or solid fuel is strictly prohibited, unless it is done in a permanent fireplace that is compliant with the California Building Code.

Although you have complied with these laws above, it is still recommended that you should contact your local government regarding burn conditions on the days you plan to set open fire for any burn ban ordinance you may have missed.

Outdoor Fire Pit and Safety Tips

To protect your property and your health, you should follow safe fire pit and outdoor fire product guidelines when using a portable fire pit, backyard chiminea, or outdoor fire ring in your backyard patio.

Keep these following guidelines in mind to stay safe.

Clear Clutter that is Flammable

The area surrounding your fire zone should be inspected. Leaves, fir needles, and other flammable materials should be cleared from a five-foot radius around your fire pit.

Dress in Non-flammable Clothing

When possible, choose non-flammable material or clothing that is fire-resistant. When tending the flames, avoid wearing flowing shirts or skirts that might catch fire.

Keep Children and Pets Away from Fire

Invest in a fire screen and protective fire ring to protect kids and pets from dangerous flames. You should take extra precautions if your guests include the elderly or anyone prone to stumbling.

Soak the Fire

Be sure to have a bucket of sand, a nearby water source, and possibly a fire blanket at hand in case the fire starts to spread. Don’t forget to fully extinguish or douse your backyard bonfire or fire pit before you leave.

Build Your Dream Fire Pit and Fire Feature with West Hills Masonry

You don’t have to worry when working with a competent hardscape contractor since they will review the fire pit regulations that Orange County’s governments demand before installing one.

They’ll be pleased to help you build a wonderful cement patio or an outdoor burning space that complies with all local regulations without causing you any hassles.

We at West Hills Masonry are happy to assist you whenever you need us. With more than 15 years of experience in hardscaping and landscaping in Orange County, we are the premier firm in this field. Our goal is not only to make your fire features safe and cost-efficient but also to make them aesthetically pleasing and functional.

For more information, please visit our website and to schedule an appointment, call us at 714-519-5009 at West Hills Masonry today!